Displacement current is associated with the generation of magnetic fields due to time-varying electric fields. The harmonic response of a magneto-electro-elastic axisymmetric cylinder accounting for displacement current is carried out using the semi-analytical finite element method. The non-conservative electric field is represented using a magnetic vector potential. Studies are carried out for the first circumferential harmonics of the shell structure with the clamped-free boundary condition. The contribution made to the magnetic flux density by the electric displacement current is very small at lower frequencies but it becomes significant at higher frequencies. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.